VOLLMAN ON TELEVISION

S: What about television makes you feel overwhelmed?

V:There are all these images and often they're ulterior. These images are out to get you. To make you buy something, in the case of commercials and in the case of the shows, just to hook you and make you watch. Television shows are very unreal: they have to last a predetermined amount of time which inherently makes them artificial.

S: But there have been structural rules in writing before. A sonnet has a fixed structure, a fixed number of lines, etc.

V: That's true, if you want to follow rules like that, you can do so and you can write some neat things. But the rules that govern television programs are not artistic rules, they're commercial rules and commercial rules are inherently degrading to art.

The other thing about television programs is that the production medium is high tech enough and capital intensive enough that it involves committees and mercenary elites. It's not one person's art work (except in cases like public access television.) It's occasionally possible for two artists to collaborate and make something special, like Evans and Agee in "Let us now praise famous men" but when a committee makes something its not going to be art, it's going to be trash.